On refreshing hydrangeas and the nature of suffering

Oh hydrangeas, you fickle little souls. More than once, I have brought you home only to have your lacy little heads start drooping within days (hours, even). No amount of water refreshings, sweet words or cuddling will change you. When a hydrangea wants to wilt, wilt it shall. But I love you too much to give up on you, so I persist and here’s what I learned:

The little monsters aren’t fragile. Oh, no; hydrangeas don’t want coddling. The filthy buggers are masochists and they want pain. They want to suffer. They want to be unceremoniously lowered into a vat of boiling water. Seriously.

So read on to learn the secrets to reviving wilted hydrangeas.

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1. Start water boiling.

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2. Trim just the ends off of the stems using a knife. Scissors smash the stem, which can make it difficult for water to get into the stem. Or so I am told.

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3. Wrap the stems and leaves in paper towels. This is to protect the leaves and pedals, which will strongly resemble boiled kale if they touch the hot water.

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4. Set the freshly cut flowers into the hot water. Be careful if you are using a glass vase because boiling water into a cold glass vessel can crack the glass. Warm the vase slightly before adding water by dipping it in warm water or wrapping it in a bear hug, if you are into that. Look at all that yummy steam… (technically, you should probably wait until the water stops steaming before setting the flowers in since steam can cause the edges of the petals to brown. I live on the very edge).

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5. Let the flowers sit. It will take hours (and even overnight) for the flowers to return to their former splendor, so don’t get discouraged. If they haven’t perked up completely after 24 hours, you can repeat the process again. These have been sitting in the water for a few hours:

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The next morning, everything is coming up roses (er, hydrangeas) once again. I’ve been able to extend wilted hydrangeas for weeks using this method.

Next time you buy hydrangeas hold a flame to the cut stems for a few seconds and they won’t start to wilt so quickly in the first place. That’s what they call living and learning.

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